This column by Jim Meyers and Kathleen Walter interviews ACRU Senior Fellow Ken Blackwell and was published March 22, 2012 on Newsmax.com.
Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell tells Newsmax that the Obama administration has “launched an all-out war on voter ID laws” to bolster the president’s re-election chances.
The Republican activist also asserts that voter ID laws offer a “reasonable safeguard” to protect against voter fraud and ballot-box stuffing.
Blackwell, who was secretary of state in Ohio from 1999 to 2007, also has been mayor of Cincinnati, undersecretary in the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the George H.W. Bush administration, and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. He now is vice chairman of the Republican National Committee’s Platform Committee and a senior fellow with the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU).
The ACRU has launched a new campaign called Protect Your Vote, an effort to protect states’ rights to require voters to present ID cards at the polling place.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Blackwell discusses the rationale behind the ACRU campaign.
Story continues below the video.
“Protecting the integrity of the ballot box is essential to our democracy,” Blackwell says.
“Laws requiring voters to show identification at the polls are common-sense measures to prevent fraud and corruption and to ensure that each year’s election returns accurately reflect the will of the people.
“With the attack led by the Obama Justice Department on voter ID laws across this country, ACRU has decided to mount a counteroffensive to protect the integrity of ballot boxes all across our country.
“We basically want to make sure that people understand that [Attorney General] Eric Holder’s Department of Justice has launched an all-out war on voter ID laws and other measures to safeguard the electoral process.
“Although Holder’s actions are purportedly to prevent minorities from being disenfranchised, the reality is that these actions are nothing more than a crass political move with the purpose of ensuring that President Obama gets re-elected.”
Holder is trying to “short-circuit these legitimate measures to protect the integrity of our electoral process,” Blackwell says.
The Justice Department recently blocked a new photo ID law in Texas and halted South Carolina’s law in December. Asked whether Holder’s Justice Department has become an Obama re-election tool, Blackwell responds: “Absolutely.”
Holder already is under fire for his role in the Fast and Furious gunrunning operation — more than 100 members of Congress have signed a no-confidence resolution against the attorney general, demanded his resignation, or both.
Blackwell continues: “What more than 30 states have tried to do is put in place a common-sense measure of voter ID so that people are assured that voters are who they purport to be, and voter IDs are commonplace in our culture. You need [an ID] for a driver’s license, for boarding an airplane, receiving a passport, purchasing alcohol or checking out a library book. So to use it to safeguard the integrity of the voting process at the voting station is pretty noneventful.
“I just had the occasion of witnessing voting in Egypt at the end of January. I watched as Egyptians offered voter ID cards to say, I am who I purport to be.”
He adds: “At the end of the day, it is a false issue to say show me how many millions of votes have been fraudulently cast. If you owned a bank would you wait until your bank is robbed before you put in safeguards to protect the dollars in your bank? The answer is no.
“This is not a matter of saying there is voter fraud that’s run rampant, but we do have enough anecdotal evidence. We all know the horror stories of ACORN in 2008 and 2010. So there is enough evidence to suggest that we need to put things in place to protect this from going crazy.
“This is a reasonable safeguard to protect against voter fraud and ballot box stuffing when we have sufficient enough evidence that there are some people who would do just that if given the opportunity.”
Obama is visiting Ohio this week to defend his energy polices, while polls show people blame the president for high gasoline prices.
“The people of Ohio and the people across the country are right to blame the president for the rising gas prices at the pump, because we are an energy-rich country,” Blackwell says.
“There’s no reason why we should be dependent on gas or oil or any source of energy from any other country. People are very right to be angry at the rising gas prices because President Obama has actually short-circuited and discouraged the all-of-the-above approach that would have made us not only an energy sufficient country but an energy exporting country, producing jobs and more income in our country.”